How rock music could mean drivers take more risks

Written by: Fuel Card Services, Last updated:11th August 2020

Driving music

If you spend a lot of time on the road, perhaps as a fleet driver, then the chances are you listen to music to pass the time.

However, you might need to avoid the faster tunes – and in particular rock music – if you want to stop yourself taking risks on the roads.

Higher tempo equals more risk?

That’s the discovery of new research from the South China University of Technology, which found drivers listening to higher tempo tunes are more likely to carry out erratic manoeuvres than those listening to slower tracks.

For the study, they asked motorists to spend 20 minutes in a driving simulator of a six-lane motorway listening to rock, easy listening music or silence.

Although the average number of lane changes was 70, this increased to a whopping 140 when the rock music was played. When the tempo was especially high, the average speed also increased by up to five miles per hour.

In fact, the songs above around 120 beats per minute were found to have a negative impact on driving style – with Green Day’s American Idiot taking the dubious honour of ‘most dangerous’ song at 189 BPM.

There was also a list of ‘least dangerous’ tracks, which was topped by Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven.

Qiang Zeng from the South China University of Technology suggested the study’s findings could lead to “training and management measures, especially for transport operators, and could mitigate the risk of driver distraction”.

It comes after Goodyear discovered last month that Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now is the UK’s favourite driving song of all time.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “It’s fascinating that the music we listen to could have such an impact on the way we drive. Perhaps it might be time to update your playlist to include more Led Zeppelin!”